Is My Story Idea Speculative Fiction?


Like me, you may have an idea for a grabbing bizarre story but you’re not sure if it’s truly speculative fiction. Like me, you may not be sure what speculative fiction is. We’re not alone. When I read several articles, I also learned much debate surrounds what speculative fiction is or includes.

The definition changes over time as things and events that weren’t reality become reality.

Common Thoughts

·Speculative fiction is an umbrella genre.

·“What if” was mentioned in all the articles I read. The term meant a speculation beyond the normal “what ifs” found in other genres.

· The three most mentioned main genres under the umbrella are:


science fiction, and

horror, but 

arguments exist to get rid of any of these three.

Other Genres

Here’s a list of other genres or subgenres mentioned in more than one article:


magic realism, utopian, dystopian,

alternative history, apocalyptic,


paranormal as in ghost stories,

superhero, science fantasy, 

weird tales, and urban fantasy.


Possible Genres

These each showed up only once among the articles:

supernatural, cyberpunk, steampunk,

time travel, epic fantasy, soft fantasy,

space travel, creature, and surrealism.

Moving Forward

To answer my question, Is my story idea speculative fiction?, I found this helpful from Sherry D. Ramsey’s article “About Speculative Fiction”:

“On the other hand, your story probably IS what we consider speculative if any of the following are true:


* it takes place in the contemporary world but adds fantastic or speculative elements
* it takes place in a past that is different from what is generally accepted
* it includes aliens
* it includes faery, mythical creatures, or invented species/races
* it includes magic
* it explores future technology or alternate technology
* it takes an existing scientific fact and extrapolates it beyond what is known
* it takes place on another planet or world
* it takes place in the future
* it includes characters with actual paranormal abilities such as telepathy
* it includes supernatural occurrences for which no logical or scientific explanation exists”

Annie Neugebauer has a diagram in her article,“What is Speculative Fiction,” that helped me, The diagram show how fantasy, historical, science fiction, and horror can overlap into speculative fiction. In her explanations, she lists subgenres in the overlaps. It’s worth checking out.

Also helpful was the article, “The Elements of Speculative Fiction,” from the blog, “The Coffee Stained Writer.” The article suggests I take out the “fantastic element” and if my story falls apart it’s speculative fiction.

Do you write speculative fiction? If so, tell us why you call it speculative fiction?

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Zoe McCarthy’s book, Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days, is a fresh and innovative refocusing of your novel or novella. Through a few simple—and fun—steps, Zoe helps writers take their not-ready-for-publication and/or rejected manuscripts to a spit-polish finish. Writing is hard work, yes, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. —Eva Marie Everson, best-selling and multiple award-winning author, conference director, president of Word Weavers International, Inc.

If you want to increase your chance of hearing yes instead of sorry or not a fit for our list at this time, this book is for you. If you want to develop stronger story plots with characters that are hard to put down, this book is for you. Through McCarthy’s checklists and helpful exercises and corresponding examples, you will learn how to raise the tension, hone your voice, and polish your manuscript. I need this book for my clients and the many conferees I meet at writer’s conferences around the country. Thank you, Zoe. A huge, #thumbsup, for Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days.  —Diana L. Flegal, literary agent, and freelance editor

Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript is a self-editing encyclopedia! Each chapter sets up the targeted technique, examples show what to look for in your manuscript, then proven actions are provided to take your writing to the next level. Whether you are a seasoned writer or a newbie, you need this book! —Sally Shupe, freelance editor, aspiring author

Writers, Tap a Spouse to Help with Your Writing Career


Don’t discount this viable option. It could work for your family. I never expected the help husband John has provided me.

Stage 1

When I started my writing career, John and I worked as actuaries. John was supportive in:

· the time I spent writing, and

· the cost and time I spent going to writers’ conferences. 

That’s all I needed.

Stage 2

We retired and moved to a rural community in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Writing for me became a full time job. I received two contracts, was building a platform, and learning how to market my books. John was supportive in doing the:



· laundry, and 

· vacuuming

so I could write.

This was a huge help, but my marketing and platform work began eating into my writing time.

Stage 3

I started traveling to fairs and festivals. John was supportive in:

· driving me to the venues and

· selling the books at my table

so I could visit with readers.

With his presence, I was more comfortable attending these events.

Stage 4


I had two more contracts and invitations to write for collections. And deadlines. I went indie with a series. I’d learned more about online marketing opportunities that I couldn’t take advantage of because I had no time. John was supportive and became my:

· marketing manager,

· chief financial officer (love those spread sheets that spit out my sales tax and book sales),

· tech researcher,

· meme maker,

· cover & bookmark designer,

· conference marketing workshops attendee,

· galley reader, and

· document reviewer

· KDP publishing tech

so I could focus on writing and platform tasks.


As business partners, 

· we do smarter marketing, using our time and money resources more wisely,

· we communicate more during my writing day,

· my stress level is less,

· fewer error and typos make it to such documents as my written interviews when I’m a guest on blogs and in book galleys,

· we’re able to get more books out, which is the most important marketing effort.

Possibilities for Spouses


Your spouse may not be as industrious as John has become, but your spouse may be able and willing to help with some things. A house chore as simple as loading and unloading the dishwasher or taking over trash duty provides minutes to a spouse’s writing time. 

I promote my blog posts on Hootsuite, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and to certain writer groups. It’s a fifteen-minute weekly task, but those fifteen-minute tasks quickly build into hours. I write the promotion content when I write the blog posts. So this blog promotion task is an easy job that anyone could do. 

I post a weekly personal photo from what’s happened in my life on my Facebook author page. This allows me to enter into fun discussions with those who’ve liked my page. Sometimes I’m working on a deadline and have no available photos and must stop writing and find something interesting to snap. This could consume a half hour or more. 

Perhaps your spouse could help with these kinds of tasks.

What are writing career tasks your spouse helps with or could help with?

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Suddenly unemployed, Allie Masterson returns home to Cary, North Carolina where she caddies for her father on the PGA Seniors Tour. There, she encounters a man who possesses an alluring gift of reading the contours of the green. Fascinated with his uncanny ability, Allie is excited to meet the Green Whisperer—until she discovers that the easygoing caddy is actually Shoo Leonard, the boy who teased her relentlessly when they were kids. Despite Allie’s reservations, when Shoo is faced with having to overcome a hand injury, she agrees to use her sport science degree to become his trainer…and then she falls for him.

 Shoo Leonard is grateful to Allie for her singular determination to get him ready for the PGA tour, but he isn’t ready for anything more. Still raw from a broken engagement and focused on his career, he’s content to be her fist-bumping buddy…but then he falls for her.

What seems like a happily-ever-after on the horizon takes a turn when Allie decides she’s become a distraction to Shoo’s career. Is it time for her to step away or can The Putting Green Whisperer find the right words to make her stay?

Words Misused – Part 3: The Real Meaning of These Words


This is the final post in my Words Misused series. Here’s a list of words many people use with an incorrect meaning in mind. I use The Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

Often Misused Words

Appraise: to set a value on. Not to inform.

Bemuse: bewilder or confuse. Not to amuse.

Dichotomy: a division or the process of dividing into two mutually exclusive or contradictory groups. Not disagreement, difference or discrepancy.

Enervate: to lessen the strength or vigor of; weaken in mind or body. Not energize.

Enormity: an outrageous, vicious, or immoral act. Not enormousness.

Fortuitous: happening by chance. Not fortunate.

Infamous: having a reputation of the worst kind; disgraceful. Not being famous.

Luxuriant: yielding or growing abundantly. Not luxurious.

Mitigate: to make less harsh, hostile, severe, or painful. Not to have weight or effect. 

Noisome: harmful, unwholesome; offensive to the senses. Not noisy.

Nonplussed: puzzled or perplexed. Not calm.

Penultimate: next to the last. Not the ultimate.

Opportunism: taking advantage of opportunities or circumstances especially with little regard for principles or ultimate consequences. Not creating opportunities.

image by Foto-Rabe

Poisonous: a substance that through its chemical action can injure or kill. Not venomous.

Practicable: capable of being put into practice, done, or accomplished. Not practical.

Proscribe: outlaw; to condemn or forbid as harmful. Not recommend.

Protagonist: the principal character in a drama or story; a leader or supporter of a cause. Not one who argues in favor of something.

Refute: to prove to be false by argument or evidence. Not by conjecture.

Simplistic: excessively simple, tending to overlook complexities. Not being simple.

Unexceptionable: not open to exception or objection, beyond reproach. Not ordinary.

Untenable: not being held, maintained, or defended. Not unbearable.

Verbal: of, relating to, or consisting of words; especially having to do with words rather than with the ideas to be conveyed. Not oral.

What’s a word you’ve heard or seen used with an incorrect meaning?

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